Boston Dynamics has not been making real sales until recently (and only after it has changed a couple of owners). We have not hit up their website for awhile and now that we did, we noticed something. It has moved in-development robot to research and laid to rest, so-to-speak, a bunch of previous endeavors.
These previous endeavors, including Handle, an ostrich-like warehouse robot, and Wildcat, are now filed under Legacy Robots. And joining Spot in the current line of robots is a new warehousing robot called Stretch.
Stretch is very much like Handle. It is designed to automate box moving tasks in warehouses and distribution centers. Also like Handle, it is mobile, albeit Stretch does not need to pull off balancing act.
In fact, the base doubles as counterweight of sort, thus enabling Stretch to reach further and handle heavier boxes. The mobile base is highly maneuverable too, capable of moving in any direction, navigates obstacles and ramps. And it does so with a footprint so small that as long as a pallet fits, Stretch will be able to fit too.
Cameras and sensors, mounted on a separate mast, work to serve as the robot’s vision. The robotic arm, on the other hand, is mounted on the platform separately and boasts 7 degrees-of-freedom, affording it with long reach and large workspace.
Stretch is able to reach cases on a truck or pallet, and it can lift up to 50 lbs (23 kilograms) with its power suction “smart gripper”.
Stretch is battery-powered, good for 8 hours of continuous operation, or plugged in for continuous operation. As for efficiency, Stretch is said to be able to move up to 800 boxes an hour. This means, it can move up to 6,400 boxes in an 8-hour shift.
Images: Boston Dynamics.